Day 5 Elsberry to St Louis
Our 2nd trip to Elsberry started with a stop at the NAPA store where the clerk couldn't find the plug wires we wanted for the right engine, our second stop at a local parts store was more successful. When we asked about getting our alternator bracket welded a girl behind the counter said her brother was would be a great welder for the job but went on to say he probably wouldn't wake up until after noon, so we went to a service shop down the street & they welded it while we had breakfast, the shop charged of $5.00 & he even painted it.
After returning to Timberlake Marina we installed the plug wires, Cap & Rotor on the Right engine & fired the engines, right away we heard a new groaning sound coming from the left engine, Pat expressed a little disgust & said he's convinced that when one motor get's serviced the other one is jealous. Timberlakes owner heard the sound & thought it might be a bad gimbal bearing in the lower unit & said they can run for months like that, "it'll just get louder". So with that we said thanks & we were on our way again.
The next stretch of the Mississippi took us past Alton IL. it was filled with beautiful homes on the bluffs above the river & the shoreline had a noticeably well groom & clean look.
We were both very impressed with the area & thought we would see more of the same as we got closer to St Louis. We had traveled about 55 miles this day with no problems, the motors were running fine. then we approached the Melvin Price lock & Dam & our left motor suddenly died & wouldn't restart, after about 10 minutes of checking for loose wires etc: I found no voltage to the coil & patched in a temporary wire from the battery to get things running. & headed for the lock, The Melvin Price was about a 12' drop and went pretty smoothly. About 5 miles further down we entered the Chain of Rocks Canal, a ten mile long man made canal ending with Lock #27. There were no options for anchoring along this stretch & by the time we left the Lock it was dark out "again".
We tried to find a good spot to spend the night but this part of the Mississippi was filled with commercial barge moorings & lots of active barges. We thought it might get better in St Louis but if anything it got worse.
Our night time view of St Louis was mostly unimpressive, the skyline was interesting & we had a good view of the Gateway Arch but the rest was all ugly shore & more barges.
With nothing to keep us in St Louis & the stress level growing from driving at night in unfriendly waters we kept on running another 6 miles to Hoppe's Marine Service who had a dock for us to tie off to. It was late & we went almost immediately to bed.